The structure of an international organization encompasses how the power, roles and responsibilities of the international units are arranged and how information flows from one level of management to another. The structure of an international organization must be strong because it contributes to the success and implementation of the company’s strategy (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/organizational-structure.html). International strategy is the way in which a business makes vital decisions about developing and arranging scarce resources. “The goal of international strategy is to create a competitive advantage that is sustainable over time” (Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.) p. 249). To accomplish strategy, the company should develop competencies that add value for the customers at a price they are willing to pay and they should make sure that the competencies are rare but organized in such a way that they allow the company to fully exploit the value from the competitive potential. (Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.)p. 231).
To begin to strategize, or plan globally, senior management must identify opportunities and threats from all over the world. They must be able to plan on how they will effectively resolve those issues and how they will be able to finance the implementation of the strategies. International companies must be able to attract and retain the best talent available worldwide, including both women and men from all nationalities. They must be able to keep up with the 21st century while still upholding the company’s values, mission statement, and vision.
Internet Censorship in China
Internet Censorship in China is among the harshest internationally. Government authorities, or “internet police,” not only block website content but they actually monitor the activities of individuals. There is said to be approximately 30,000 enforcers that conduct these investigations and the censorship is conducted under a wide assortment of administrative regulations and laws.
(http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/news/international/countriesandterritories/china/internet_censorship/index.html). China’s constitution allows for freedom of speech and press, but “Chinese law includes media regulations with vague language that authorities use to claim stories endanger the country by sharing state secrets” (http://www.cfr.org/china/media-censorship-china/p11515). In 2010, the government revised their law on sharing state secrets to tighten its control over information flow which includes internet, cellphone and media usage. The law required that all internet users, including international businesses, abide by Chinese law and regulations.
Google’s Battle with China
In 2006, Google entered into the Chinese market with the understanding that they would implement a censorship program that would censor internet searches involving socially or politically sensitive topics (Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.) p. 236). In 2010 when the government revised their laws on sharing state secrets, Google decided that it would stop obeying censorship laws on its Chinese website. The decision was not only made when the law changed, but was made when a series of Chinese cyberattacks hit the Google server in the United States. The cyberattack consisted of many Gmail accounts being hacked, and most of those accounts being of human-rights activists. CEO Eric Schmidt stated, “They were all part of an overall system bent on suppressing expression, whether it was by controlling Internet search results or trying to surveil activists” Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.) p. 236).
Google has a well-publicized policy of “don’t be evil” and they have a reputation for strong ethical behaviors. Some have questioned this since the decision to end their relationship with China, but others think that more companies should follow ‘gut principles.’ Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013) p. 236). Overall, Google’s decision to end their relationship with China was brave, but a good decision because they stood by their code of ethics. In Proverbs 11:3 it states that “the integrity of the upright guides them.” Character influences our choices and it is the Lord’s purpose to develop this inside of us. Sometimes God uses trials, like the one Google faced with China, to strengthen us and more companies should follow in their footsteps (http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-character.html).
Life in a Virtual Organization
Why own a Porsche when you can rent one? That is the substance of virtual corporation; “an organization that coordinates economic activity to deliver value to customers using resources outside the traditional boundaries of the organization” (Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013) p.263). The virtual corporation is usually highly centralized with no departmentalization. Accenture Ltd. is one of these companies. They are a global management consulting firm that has 259,000 people serving in over 120 countries (http://www.accenture.com/us-en/company/Pages/index.aspx). The partners of Accenture Ltd. could not decide on a location for a corporate office because they spend much of their time traveling to visit clients, so they decided to live where each of them wanted and then they would build around that.
Working for a virtual corporation such as Accenture Ltd. could bring many benefits. Specifically, it would permit better flexibility than a corporate structure allowing its employees to work from home in most cases, and it would also be a great way to start a business to keep startup costs to a minimum. Virtual corporation concepts could also bring disadvantages as it limits management’s control over the corporate activities (Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.) p. 264-265). Despite the disadvantages though, virtual corporations are increasing and they are finding ways to integrate computer based software such as face-to face webinars via webcam (http://www.siop.org/tip/backissues/tipapril98/Cascio.aspx).
Are Women Appropriate for Global Leadership Positions?
Global competiveness depends on top CEOs to recognize that they need the most talented people in the world to serve on their executive teams; men or women (http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1782547&show=html). Research findings that were presented in a Global Debate suggested that women might be better suited for global leadership positions than men because most women that were global leaders came from diverse backgrounds, were not selected by women-friendly companies, symbolized hope and change, were driven to succeed based on vision rather than hierarchical status, relied on support directly from the marketplace, pursued paths that involved lateral movement within the company and used their status as a woman to enhance their visibility as a platform (Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.) p. 284). With that being said, why are there such a small number of women occupying executive leadership positions?
Historically, leadership took on a masculine belief that men are better leaders than women. In society, because of customs and cultures, women take the back seat, so to speak, when it comes to leadership positions. This happens in part because the decision making is usually left up to the existing senior managers or partners who happen to be male. Also, because of “discrimination and stereotyping, women’s access to leadership roles has been hindered over time” (http://appweb.cortland.edu/ojs/index.php/Wagadu/article/viewArticle/352/668)
Women have spent numerous years fighting for equality and despite their efforts, without government intervention it will be very hard to achieve equity in the global market. Affirmative action has been used over time to assist with gender imbalances, and the government could monitor corporate activities by using such a program.
“Statements of the corporate mission, vision and values communicate to the firm’s stakeholders what the company is and where it’s going” (Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.) p.249). It is the responsibility of the company leaders to uphold these values and to take them seriously and to not waiver when challenges arise. Mission, vision and values are critical especially for virtual organizations as they offer a starting point for new employees and tell existing employees where they are going in the future. As the workplace changes so does leadership. Expect to see more women leaders in the 21st century as awareness rises and the need to have someone in an executive roll that can lead with emotional intelligence and empathy (Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.) p.284).
Ball, D. A., Geringer, J. M., McNett, J. M., and Minor, M. S. (2013). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN 978-0-07-811263-8